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Subject: Just some thoughts... rss

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Steve Wagner
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Why does every music group have to bash Bush lately? Although, I think he's better than the candidates that he faced, I'm not exactly his greatest supporter. I don't think the candidates that will replace him are much better either, but that's another subject.

With that, I'm getting tired of (what seems like) every cd having songs bashing him. In a year, those songs are going to be worthless, meaning wise.

War protest songs don't bother me as much. Look at CCR's great protest songs. They've stand the test of time. Other groups did that as well. I don't remember a huge amount songs against the presidents during that time. Carter was probably the worst president of the late 1900's, but I don't remember any songs being written for him.

The only thing that bothers me about the bashing from all sides, is that no one bashes Congress, who have failed as miserably or even more than the president. They've done barely nothing but squabble for probably as long as I've been alive (30 years), it seems.

I would like to see others opinions on this, without it getting ugly. Let's try to keep this civil.
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There's always country music.
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I agree that the sentiment is a little played out, as it doesn't take a lot of courage to stand against incredibly unpopular figures, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that he is a terrible president and pretty much everybody hates him (except for the five or so people who thumb pretty much every right-wing opinion posted in RSP).
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MWChapel wrote:
There's always country music.

Actually, they're distancing themselves from the President and his war, too.

Telegraph.co.uk wrote:
In 2002, Keith had a huge hit with Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue, which includes the lyric: "You'll be sorry that you messed with the US of A, 'cause we'll put a boot in your ass — it's the American Way."

Worley's Have You Forgotten in 2003 justified the Iraq invasion as a response to the September 11 attacks. The military liked it so much he was presented with a flag that had flown over the Pentagon.

Now Keith says he is a lifelong Democrat and has claimed he never supported the war, while Worley has had a hit with I Just Came Back from a War, about a soldier returning from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Tim McGraw — the biggest contemporary country star — has a hit single with If You're Reading This, about a dead soldier's last letter home, and the Dixie Chicks, boycotted in 2003 after lead singer Natalie Maines told an audience in London: "We're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas," won five Grammy Awards this year.
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Tim P.
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I didn't know that BUSH were still performing ? they had a few hits years ago, but not enough to cause a general backlash by other "artists"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_(band)
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Well, people love a bad guy, and an iconic figure is easier to hate than a vague group of people. Same reason why the creationists are still frothing about "Darwin" and "Darwinism." Biology has advanced in many ways, but if you want donations for your cause, "Darwinism" is a better label than "the masses of [*] biologists and researchers over the past 200 years."

* even inserting "evil," "secular," "atheist," etc. is not as useful as one demonized iconic figure.
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Keith "Boaty McBoatface" C
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SVan wrote:
Look at CCR's great protest songs. They've stand the test of time.


Yes, nobody would ever consider using a CCR protest song to sell jeans.
 
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Kind of an ironic posting, as I remember people complaining about the LACK of protest songs about the Bush administration a few years ago. Only Zack De La Rocha/DJ Shadow and Neil Young really did much about it, in the semi-mainstream at least.

I'm not sure the world is much enhanced by hearing Pink's political views, but I'll take repetition over apathy any day of the week.
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Steve Wagner
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Orph wrote:
SVan wrote:
Look at CCR's great protest songs. They've stand the test of time.


Yes, nobody would ever consider using a CCR protest song to sell jeans.


That commercial made no sense. Which makes it similar to 99% of the commercials out there.
 
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eaglebeak wrote:
Kind of an ironic posting, as I remember people complaining about the LACK of protest songs about the Bush administration a few years ago. Only Zack De La Rocha/DJ Shadow and Neil Young really did much about it, in the semi-mainstream at least.

I'm not sure the world is much enhanced by hearing Pink's political views, but I'll take repetition over apathy any day of the week.


To me, it wouldn't be bad if it wasn't every group doing it. Even Linkin Park got into the act, and I know they have to be angry at something, but before you could use your imagination and think it was their parents, significant others, etc.

A good example of a song that is suppose to bash Bush, but is general enough to get your own meaning out of it is Futures, by Jimmy Eat World. I don't think listening to Bushleaguer by Pearl Jam is going to be very interesting after a few years.
 
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I certainly think there's room for all styles of songs, from abstract poesy to general social criticism to broadside polemics, but I'll admit to a great love of topical songs; my favorite genres, punk, hip-hop, and folk, thrive on them.

While songs that are of-the-moment may lose their immediate relevance once the issue passes, they then become valuable historical documents, to remember what folks were thinking, feeling, and singing during an era. An eighties punk screed about Reagan may be passe right now, but when I listen to Pete Seeger sing a protest song against FDR, it's very interesting again. There may be nothing as boring as yesterday's news to some folks, but news from fifty years ago is fascinating and valuable.

Topical songs also provoke questions about the purpose of music and musicians. Is it the goal of a songwriter to write a song that will speak to some hypothetical audience fifty years from now, or is it their goal to speak to the audience in front of them as they sing it? Both approaches are valid, and for me, personally, I'm more interested in knowing what's going on in their heads now, wherever that may lead. You've gotta write what your heart dictates, and if your heart is dismayed by Bush and the direction the country you love is going, it's only natural to write about it.

Other difficulties for topical songs for the past thirty years or so are due in part to the death of the viable independent record label and the rise of studio perfectionism. The music business used to be much more flexible; you could record a song on Wednesday and get it played on the radio on Friday. Quick recording sessions and fewer corporate middlemen allowed for much greater mobility. In the aftermath of Sgt. Pepper, it takes weeks or months to record a single track, and can be a year or more to record an album. The expenses are much greater, as a result, and so the label has a strong disincentive to produce topical materiel, since the gap between inception and delivery is so great.
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Telegraph.co.uk wrote:
In 2002, Keith had a huge hit with Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue, which includes the lyric: "You'll be sorry that you messed with the US of A, 'cause we'll put a boot in your ass — it's the American Way."

Worley's Have You Forgotten in 2003 justified the Iraq invasion as a response to the September 11 attacks. The military liked it so much he was presented with a flag that had flown over the Pentagon.

Now Keith says he is a lifelong Democrat and has claimed he never supported the war, while Worley has had a hit with I Just Came Back from a War, about a soldier returning from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Tim McGraw — the biggest contemporary country star — has a hit single with If You're Reading This, about a dead soldier's last letter home, and the Dixie Chicks, boycotted in 2003 after lead singer Natalie Maines told an audience in London: "We're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas," won five Grammy Awards this year.


Call me cynical, but I find these attitudes largely representative of the apathetic and disinterested moderates in the country at large. The blind, patriotic (and oh-so-articulate) rage of "We'll put a boot up your ass" followed by "This war has human costs associated with it; I never supported that idea" absolutely disgusts me.

However distasteful I might find it, at least the Neocon notion of spreading democracy by the sword is a coherent ethos.
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at least the Neocon notion of spreading democracy by the sword is a coherent ethos.


Eh... pretty much any form of government replacing another involves the "sword". Suggesting that "Neocons" (whatever that fuzzy word means) are hell-bent to topple non-democracies... and implying that Bush is the primer mover of this "ethos" is silly.

Here's an interesting article from a guy who knows a lot about this stuff:

http://freedomspeace.blogspot.com/2007/08/fact-more-democrac...

Even liberals and non-conservatives enjoy living under some form of democracy. The "sword", as you put it, is one of the implememts that allows singers, poets and artists to protest without fear of imprisonment to begin with.

Protest songs are garbage for the most part. Protected garbage. Saleable garbage. Sometimes even attractive garbage. But still garbage.

I like living in a country where garbage is protected and can even feather the garbage-makers nest. Woody Guthrie liked it too.
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Bela's dead and Vampira won't talk
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DWTripp wrote:
Eh... pretty much any form of government replacing another involves the "sword". Suggesting that "Neocons" (whatever that fuzzy word means) are hell-bent to topple non-democracies...


When I say neocon, I'm trying to stay true to the self-described definitions espoused by people like Michael Lind (formerly) or Irving Kristol, or organizations like the NED or PNAC. More broadly, I'd include aspects of GW Bush's foreign policy (Iraq), and aspects of Reagan's foreign policy (the USSR). Really briefly, I think the ideology (or my understanding of it, at least) is rooted in what is often termed "moral clarity," that then leads to (often unilateral) actions designed to spread Western-style democracy. Sometimes this results in violent action, as in the case of the contras or the Iraq war, though I'm not espousing a total "warmonger" position.

When I talk about "the Sword," it's because I don't believe this is a morally valid tool to spread our "way" even if I think our way really is a pretty great one. Personally I'd prefer to see market forces and internal political development in foreign nations take care of this sort of thing. Reagan's buildups may have been the straw that broke the camel's back in the case of the USSR, but our market economy is what had made that viable over the preceding half century. Computers, refrigeration, and medicine are way more compelling than a US-installed government, even if said government really has the best intentions for its people (which is itself not always the case).

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Even liberals and non-conservatives enjoy living under some form of democracy. The "sword", as you put it, is one of the implememts that allows singers, poets and artists to protest without fear of imprisonment to begin with.


That's for damned sure. I'm glad (and lucky) to live in a country with a military that protects me, and a government that (though it slips up from time to time) is grounded on principles of liberty and free speech. I'm also glad that we have the overwhelming military might to virtually assuredly protect ourself and our friends, though I do emphasize the word protect. It's the act of forcefully spreading our political system that I dislike, not (for the most part) our system itself.

At any rate, despite the loaded language that belies my position, it wasn't my intent to derail the thread into a debate over what is appropriate regarding militarism and the US. Rather, I wanted to point out that I would prefer that people be thoughtfully engaged at all rather than apathetic or disingenuous in general (like Mr. Keith).

I might not agree with what Bill Kristol has to say on a given issue, but at least I can enter into an informed discussion with him since he espouses a coherent belief structure. Even if we don't come to the same conclusions, he's engaged in the process, and has reasons he thinks the way he does. In the case of "put a boot up your ass"/"I never supported this war" Toby Keith and those like him, his apparent lack of any thoughtful position makes such a discussion impossible.
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Marco Grubert
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Koldfoot wrote:
I bash Congress.
To stay on-topic, please do so with a song and dance.
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Isaac Citrom
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le_cygne wrote:
When I talk about "the Sword," it's because I don't believe this is a morally valid tool to spread our "way" even if I think our way really is a pretty great one. Personally I'd prefer to see market forces and internal political development in foreign nations take care of this sort of thing. Reagan's buildups may have been the straw that broke the camel's back in the case of the USSR, but our market economy is what had made that viable over the preceding half century. Computers, refrigeration, and medicine are way more compelling than a US-installed government, even if said government really has the best intentions for its people (which is itself not always the case).


How does that work exactly? Are there any examples, even one? I thought that was the very point of an autocratic state, that there are no internal political developments and the population is shielded from market forces even if it means they starve.

Had not specific leaders in the Soviet Union let go of the reins, how would the communist block have fallen? Indeed, we have several examples of attempts to break free that were brutally crushed.

Never mind computers and refrgerators. How are things going in Vietnam and North Korea simply for the sake of rice. Africa?!

The argument is often stated that these people chose these systems of government in the first place (communism was an overstated threat). Why are they not now choosing otherwise.
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The argument is often stated that these people chose these systems of government in the first place (communism was an overstated threat). Why are they not now choosing otherwise.


Cause they got no guns. Guns are bad for evil governments.
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isaacc wrote:

How does that [the fall of other political systems sans military involvement] work exactly? Are there any examples, even one? I thought that was the very point of an autocratic state, that there are no internal political developments and the population is shielded from market forces even if it means they starve.

Had not specific leaders in the Soviet Union let go of the reins, how would the communist block have fallen? Indeed, we have several examples of attempts to break free that were brutally crushed.


This is certainly true, but it's largely this sort of transition that I was largely getting at, not armed uprising. (That said, I think there's something to Tripp's comment. While an armed militia might have little success against a modern state army, the symbolic idea of an armed populace that can overthrow an unjust government is, I think, a powerful tool for democracy--but I digress.)

Gorbachev was not Stalin, but the former eventually came to power in the system established by the latter. Unlike Stalin, Gorbachev had seen the results of the Soviet program in contrast to the US and Western Europe, and this led to all manner of reforms--perestroika, glasnost, New Thinking--domestically, and probably most crucially, abroad. Remember Margaret Thatcher's "I like Mr. Gorbachev, we can do business together" comment? How about the so-called "Sinatra Doctrine"? Not only were they indicative of important shifts in Soviet policy (which led directly to the collapse of the Soviet Union), but the terminology itself reflects the influence of Western-style thinking, both culturally and economically.

That's the sort of result I'm talking about with regard to free markets, computers and medicine. (I firmly believe that KFC and cheap exports are making a bigger impact on China than a war ever could, if we desired to pursue that course of action.)

For another recent example, consider also Juan Carlos I and Adolfo Suárez in Spain. Even though Juan Carlos was designated king by Franco himself, he abandoned the dictator's methods for the preferable system and began the democratization process almost immediately after becoming the head of state. Again, they took the Western model of governance, in this case a constitutional monarchy. A constitution was underway by mid 1977 and approved in 1978, only 3 years after Franco's death.

The "bad guys" may not see the light as individuals, but their regimes have historically shifted. Installed governments, on the other hand, have often been undone, either toppled by internal opposition or grown corrupt, as often occurred during the Cold War. In either of these cases, the system is there, but not the fundamental understanding of why that system is important, nor the important sentiment that it is the work of the nation's people, and not some outside "interloper."

I cite the USSR and Spain only as two of the more striking, recent examples. Westernization is happening all over the world, probably inexorably. A group of sheiks giving up personal power to form the UAE constitution? Who'd have seen that coming? But the fact that they were allowed to integrate a largely Western governmental framework within their own culture--and to be party to its development, as opposed to installation--is, I think, largely responsible for its success. One need only look to Dubai to see the profound impact it's had.

Quote:

Never mind computers and refrgerators. How are things going in Vietnam and North Korea simply for the sake of rice. Africa?!


I'd shy away from using Vietnam as an example of why militaristic means are better than market. The Vietnamese seem not to have appreciated the French occupation, nor was the American war for democracy terribly successful (to say nothing of additional costs, like the innocent bystanders in Laos who thirty years later still have to deal with literally millions of unexploded munitions). Doi Moi reforms (which involve increased privatisation and market forces), on the other hand, have radically improved the economic situation of Vietnam over the last twenty or so years. Sure, it's still a poor country, but it now has one of the fastest growing GDPs in the world.

That said, a serious caveat of my preferred means is indeed that it does not work overnight.

Clearly there are some cases in which abuses--typically crimes against humanity like, but not necessarily limited to, genocide--should be met with military force. (I'll restate for clarity that I of course also favor military action in the case of defense of oneself or one's allies.)

In these cases of grossly inhuman immorality, I would vastly prefer international approval, but wouldn't necessarily be against acting unilaterally if absolutely necessary. I would for example be far more supportive of sending troops to Sudan with the claimed mission of "ending the massacre, displacement, rape, and torture perpetuated by the Janjaweed" than I was of the decision to invade Iraq under the (politely: highly dubious) claims of Saddam's terrorist connections and WMDs.(Tangentially, an extremely negative side effect of acting unilaterally in cases like Iraq is that we sacrifice our perceived moral superiority, and thus some capacity to call other nations to action for cases like Darfur. This is of course to say nothing of the additional logistical strain on our military.)
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Koldfoot wrote:
I bash Congress.


Yeah, but 9% of Americans disagree with you.

Right
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oi_you_nutter wrote:
I didn't know that BUSH were still performing ? they had a few hits years ago, but not enough to cause a general backlash by other "artists"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_(band)


A shame too. They weren't half bad.

As forthat president, perhaps he could be taken Down Under and lost in the Bush.
 
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Cross_ wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
I bash Congress.
To stay on-topic, please do so with a song and dance.


No, no! You do NOT want Koldfoot to sing or dance. Trust me... *gulp* BAD things happen.... *shudder*

I do not actually know Koldfoot off-line but the temptation was too much for me.
 
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le_cygne wrote:
isaacc wrote:

How does that [the fall of other political systems sans military involvement] work exactly? Are there any examples, even one? I thought that was the very point of an autocratic state, that there are no internal political developments and the population is shielded from market forces even if it means they starve.

Had not specific leaders in the Soviet Union let go of the reins, how would the communist block have fallen? Indeed, we have several examples of attempts to break free that were brutally crushed.


Gorbachev was not Stalin, but the former eventually came to power in the system established by the latter. Unlike Stalin, Gorbachev had seen the results of the Soviet program in contrast to the US and Western Europe, and this led to all manner of reforms--perestroika, glasnost, New Thinking--domestically, and probably most crucially, abroad. Remember Margaret Thatcher's "I like Mr. Gorbachev, we can do business together" comment? How about the so-called "Sinatra Doctrine"? Not only were they indicative of important shifts in Soviet policy (which led directly to the collapse of the Soviet Union), but the terminology itself reflects the influence of Western-style thinking, both culturally and economically.

[snip]


Well argued and compelling.
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isaacc wrote:

Well argued and compelling.


This can't have just happened on the internet. Where am I? What the hell is going on here? laugh

Thank you for the kind words.
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It's a lot easier to respect artists like Rage Against the Machine (one example of many), who were making much more compelling arguments about much more insidious issues before it was trendy (again) to be pissy about the government.

That said, well written songs that actually address real concerns can raise people's awareness, show them what they don't (necessarily want to) know, and THAT is extremely important. I just get annoyed at brainless, substanceless bitching -- "Grrr -- I'm mad as Hell -- grrrr -- grrrrr!) Fine, little artist people, you're angry. Tell me why it matters! Make me care! Compel me! Tooooooo few artists actually do this anymore.

Here's a quick comparison -- Rage Against the Machine v Green Day:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqcM5lVoteQ



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5mjN32G1iI

One compels me, and one disappoints me with a string of vague, silly, all-style-no-substance references and one simple minded insult aimed at a particular population of poor people.
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le_cygne wrote:
isaacc wrote:

Well argued and compelling.


This can't have just happened on the internet. Where am I? What the hell is going on here? laugh

Thank you for the kind words.


I don't 100% agree with what you say. Your arguments belie a political and social naivite inherant to your position. I left out that counter-argument for the moment. Basically, and we have discussed this back and forth here and on other threads, you guys attribute certain values to the targets of the discussion, namely reason and goodwill, which I think does not exist in these tyrants, etc. This is the basis of all that useful idiot stuff.

You perhaps will have seen it here on BGG but it is also the case in all my dealings that I have no fear of saying stuff like, "you make a good point" and "y'know, I think you're right." It just doesn't bother me like it seemingly does other people.

A lot of the negativity is based on intellectually dishonest twisting and turning of phrases, intentional obtuseness, and the other tricks of the trade.

I recognize that you make a well-reasoned argument and bring new points to the forefront, in the spirit of true debate where I raise points, you come back with counter-arguments and perhaps new arguments, and back and forth like that. More than that, what you say had real value to me in that I agreed with some, and stroked my chin about others. But, that's the point of open discussion, isn't it.
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